I've been following SO for some time and lately (or is it my impression?) I see many comments on users' posts being ironic or in no way constructive. I've flagged a couple but they seem to reappear. The question is, should there be some kind of other mechanism? Or is it ok to go about mocking naive users with stupid questions?

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    What about linking to some of the comments you are talking about? Aug 6, 2012 at 14:12
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  • @ThiefMaster: Just a few I stumbled upon with a quick search (earlier today I noticed more, but I don't remember specific posts): stackoverflow.com/questions/11827704/…, stackoverflow.com/questions/11829545/…, stackoverflow.com/questions/11823029/… Aug 6, 2012 at 14:23
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    @PeriklisVenakis Could you perhaps quote some of the comments you find particularly problematic? Looking through the quotes on some of the questions you've mentioned, some have a problematic tone, but most are actually helpful and I find none flag-ably offensive (though I might have missed some).
    – Bart
    Aug 6, 2012 at 14:28
  • well, I saw a few much worse earlier (which led to my posting here), and i admit I would probably not flag these myself, but quotes like "any answers would be over your head as well I assume" (rude), "Parsing HTML with REGEX? s/(?<!SHOOTING YOURSELF IN THE )FOOT/HEAD/g" (unconstructive) and "Does AOL mail still exist?" (unconstructive/chatty) are counter-productive Aug 6, 2012 at 14:34
  • @PeriklisVenakis: Why do you consider my comments to be not constructive or "mocking"? I actually tried to help the user and even upvoted him out of the -1 score. I prompted the user for code, knowing that it was crucial, was not rude in any way (at least I didn't think I was), and originally he posted a blob of code in the comments, and he corrected it after I showed him how to add it to the post. There is a big difference between rude/not-constructive and honest feedback or criticism.
    – user159834
    Aug 6, 2012 at 14:36
  • I don't think we should start flaming here. My post was general and I had no intention of pointing out any specific user (although I did after all and I apologize). To answer, had you posted this comment on my question (which btw would probably be my first), implying that, well, I'm incapable of trying so just forget it, why would I want to visit the site again? Why can't you just say "hey, keep in mind that this is way too difficult" or just leave someone else to reply or comment? Aug 6, 2012 at 14:41
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    @PeriklisVenakis: Who is "flaming"? Also, specific examples are extremely useful and quite appropriate. In response to the "incapable" thing, the user said right in his post "i never worked with PHP before". My inital comment was not meant as an insult and I don't think it was taken that way by the OP, it was an honest question.
    – user159834
    Aug 6, 2012 at 14:42
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    I really don't see anything I'd consider rude or not constructive in this example either. Maybe the first comment is off topic, but really - I think possibly you're being overly sensitive (unless the comments were nuked already, in that case I apologize). Maybe the answer to your question is that not everyone agrees on what is and what is not rude or helpful. It's odd to me that in your own post, you state that the questions are "stupid" and the users "naive"... Isn't that a bit rude?
    – user159834
    Aug 6, 2012 at 14:47
  • @WesleyMurch -- FWIW I think your comments are fine. The comment about "Does AOL mail still exist?" isn't rude, per se, but it's noise, and I don't think it's a good idea to joke around with brand new people that way. Aug 6, 2012 at 14:49
  • @ErnestFriedman-Hill: Actually we had a friendly back-and-forth but the user deleted his comments apparently. I'll leave mine be since they are in question here. I agree that there is too much noise/snark in comments but I don't totally agree with any of the given examples (unless of course, the offending comments have been removed and I don't see them). IMO, the sentence "is it ok to go about mocking naive users with stupid questions?" is rather snarky itself, as well as the implications that the questions are "stupid", by the OP of this post.
    – user159834
    Aug 6, 2012 at 14:52

1 Answer 1


Thanks for caring about this, and wanting to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem!

If you see snarky comments, flag them for moderator attention, and they'll be deleted. You'll be doing your part to make StackOverflow a nicer place.

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    No, don't flag them for moderation attention, instead flag them as "rude or offensive", "not constructive / off-topic", etc, whichever applies. There's absolutely no need for moderation intervention, our moderators are already overworked as it is, 3 (?) comment flags is all it takes for the comment to go away.
    – yannis
    Aug 6, 2012 at 20:29
  • @YannisRizos You are correct - it takes 3 flags for zero-score comments. Apparently, there is a formula for the number of flags it takes based on the "great comment" score- 3 + (Score / 3) Aug 8, 2012 at 12:39

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